More and more Singaporeans are going abroad to study in top universities for their degrees. Figures show that most of these students prefer British and Australian universities. In the U.K. alone, the number of Singaporean students increased from 4,000 in 2009 to 7,000 in 2014. This shows that more of us parents are willing to let their children go abroad for higher education. However, we should be aware that apart from money, we also need to provide other forms of support to help prepare our kids for life abroad.
Here are some tips.
Make sure they have sufficient funds
Do you know that locally, university degree programmes cost approximately between S$32,000 and S$120,000? Those sending their kids abroad can expect this cost to be somewhere between S$155,000 and S$280,000. If you’re a parent who will be sending your kids overseas, you’ll need to prepare yourself for the investment and help your children manage the costs of living abroad. If you can directly pay for their tuition and boarding via bank transfer to the school and residence, it will ease any financial anxiety on their part and help them focus on living and studying well. Remember to take currency exchange rates and travel costs into consideration when you help them plan their finances. For those of us who have some time before our kids go to college, why not start saving now. Opt for a saving plan that’s specially designed for this purpose. Use the AXA calculator to estimate how much funds your child is going to need.
Keep them on top of the paperwork
Studying abroad means that there’s a lot of paperwork to be done. Check that your children are aware of the formalities of the application process to their university of choice, and the paperwork required for studying in the country. Make sure all documentation is prepared beforehand to prevent last-minute anxiety. Advise your kids to keep their passports, student visas and other important papers in a safe place.
Help them manage homesickness
Homesickness is a common problem for kids studying abroad. Research by the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute showed that more than 65 percent of the college freshmen studied experienced periods of homesickness. Make sure you talk to your children and get them ready for the emotional anxiety ahead. You can also help them manage it by staying in contact through the Internet. Be well versed with tools like Skype, Messenger and social media platforms such as Facebook, and use them to keep in touch regularly.
Get them insured
As parents, we always want the best for our children and that includes keeping them ready for the unexpected. Getting them insured for life overseas is an important step. Some study abroad programmes come with insurance included, but for those that don’t; you can always get suitable and comprehensive coverage from a reliable insurance provider.
There’s much for you and your kids to prepare before they go abroad. Counsel them well so that they can look forward to a smooth journey in their pursuit of a degree.